Food Poisoning, Symptom, Causes And Treatment

PUBLISHED ON March 11, 2020 Read TIME: 4 minutes VIEWS: 53

Food poisoning, also called foodborne illness,  an illness caused by eating contaminated food. It's not usually serious and most people get better within a few days without treatment.

Although it’s quite uncomfortable, food poisoning isn’t unusual. According to the Centers for, 1 in 6 Americans will contract some form of food poisoning every year.

Most often, food poisoning is mild and resolves without treatment. But some people need to go to the hospital.

SYMPTOMS
The symptoms of food poisoning usually begin within one to two days of eating contaminated food, although they may start at any point between a few hours and several weeks later.

The main symptoms include:

Abdominal cramps
Diarrhea
Vomiting
Loss of appetite
Mild fever
Weakness
Nausea
Headaches
Most often, food poisoning is mild and resolves without treatment. But some people need to go to the hospital.

CAUSES

Many bacterial, viral or parasitic agents cause food poisoning.

Bacteria
Bacteria is by far the most prevalent cause of food poisoning. When thinking of dangerous bacteria, names like E.coli, Listeria, and Salmonella come to mind for good reason.
Campylobacter and C. botulinum (botulism)are two lesser-known and potentially lethal bacteria that can lurk in our food.

Parasites
Food poisoning caused by parasites is not as common as food poisoning caused by bacteria, but parasites spread through food are still very dangerous. Toxoplasma is the parasite seen most often in cases of food poisoning.

Viruses
Food poisoning can also be caused by a virus. The norovirus, also known as the Norwalk virus, causes over 19 million cases of food poisoning each year.
Sapovirus, rotavirus, and astrovirus bring on similar symptoms, but they’re less common. Hepatitis A virus is a serious condition that can be transmitted through food.

SPREAD
Food can become contaminated at any stage during production, processing or cooking. For example,
not cooking food thoroughly (particularly meat)
not correctly storing food that needs to be chilled at below 5C
leaving cooked food for too long at warm temperatures
not sufficiently reheating previously cooked food
someone who is ill or who has dirty hands touching the food
eating food that has passed its "use by" date

Who is at risk for food poisoning?
Older adults with a weaker immune system, Pregnant women having many many changes in metabolism and circulation, Young children as their immune system is not fully developed etc.

Prevention

Wash your hands well with warm, soapy water before and after handling or preparing food.
When shopping, preparing food or storing food, keep raw meat, poultry, fish and shellfish away from other foods. This prevents cross-contamination.

Refrigerate or freeze perishable foods promptly within two hours of purchasing or preparing them.

If you aren't sure if a food has been prepared, served or stored safely, discard it. Food left at room temperature too long may contain bacteria or toxins that can't be destroyed by cooking. Don't taste food that you're unsure about — just throw it out. Even if it looks and smells fine, it may not be safe to eat.

When to see a doctor
If you experience any of the following signs or symptoms, seek medical attention.
if you're unable to keep down any fluids because you are vomiting repeatedly
your symptoms don't start to improve after a few days
you have symptoms of severe dehydration, such as confusion, a rapid heartbeat, sunken eyes and passing little or no urine
Bloody vomit or stools or urine
Diarrhea for more than three days
Extreme pain or severe abdominal cramping
An oral temperature higher than 100.4 F (38° C)

TREATMENT
Food poisoning can usually be treated at home, and most cases will resolve within three to five days.

If you have food poisoning, it’s crucial to remain properly hydrated. Sports drinks high in electrolytes can be helpful with this. Fruit juice and coconut water can restore carbohydrates and help with fatigue.

Avoid caffeine, which may irritate the digestive tract. Decaffeinated teas with soothing herbs like chamomile, peppermint, and dandelion may calm an upset stomach.

In severe cases of food poisoning, individuals may require hydration with intravenous (IV) fluids at a hospital. In the very worst cases of food poisoning, a longer hospitalization may be required while the individual recovers.

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